Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: April 6, 2023

When people get a little more adventuresome in their culinary tastes, they'll often venture into unfamiliar territory and try something like duck. Duck is vibrant, flavorful meat, but it can be intimidating to cook if you don't know how.

I've been cooking duck for years and have come up with some recipes that will ensure your meal comes out perfectly every time.

Quick Summary

  • Duck is a rich, flavorful meat that is perfect for a special meal
  • Duck can be fried, roasted, or grilled in ways that make it easy for a beginner
  • Despite its fat, duck is a healthy meat that is high in protein and low in cholesterol

4 Ways to Cook Duck

Here are my go-to recipes when I want to feast on duck meat.

1. Deep Frying a Whole Duck

Deep fried duck

Deep frying makes anything taste great, and duck is no exception.

Here is the best way to make a delightful fried duck:

  1. Get a whole duck, remove the giblets, and clean it thoroughly, inside and out.
  2. Cut off the excess fat around the neck and cavity.
  3. Season the duck inside and out with salt, pepper, paprika, and any other of your favorite seasonings.
  4. Truss the duck so that the wings and legs are tied back.
  5. Place the duck in a deep fryer or pot filled with peanut oil and heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Slowly lower the duck into the oil and fry for 9 minutes per pound.
  7. Measure the temperature at the leg joint, and your duck is done when it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Carefully remove from the fryer or pot and drain on paper towels.
  9. Let the duck rest for 10 minutes before carving. Carve and serve.

2. Roasting a Whole Duck

A roasted whole duck

Made famous by Chinese restaurants, roasted duck is a delicious way to cook your duck.

You can use an oven or a temperature-controlled smoker for this method.

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring to a roiling boil.
  3. Get a whole duck, remove the giblets, and clean it thoroughly, inside and out.
  4. Cut off the excess fat around the neck and cavity.
  5. Using a sharp fork, prick the skin all over the duck at 1-inch intervals without piercing the meat.
  6. Boil the duck for 10 minutes. Remove from pot and let cool.
  7. Pat duck dry, then rub inside and out with a mixture of salt, pepper, and paprika.
  8. Cut three celery into 2-inch slices and an orange into eight pieces. Stuff into the duck's cavity along with garlic to taste.
  9. Tuck wings under duck and place on a roasting rack in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, lower the temperature of the oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. After 45 minutes, remove and flip the duck. Repeat after 35 minutes.
  11. The total roasting time should be about 22 minutes per pound of duck. Cook to a meat temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit at the thickest part of the leg and thigh joint.
  12. Remove duck from oven, let rest 15 minutes, then remove the items from the cavity.
  13. Carve and serve.

“Americans consumed about 0.33, or 1/3, pound of duck per person in 2011.”

- U.S. Department of Agriculture

3. Grilling a Duck Breast

Grilled duck breast

One of the best ways for a new cook to enjoy duck is with a simple grilled duck breast. This recipe is easy enough for anyone to do, and the results are tasty.

  1. Trim any excess fat from the duck breast.
  2. Score the skin of the duck breast in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut into the meat.
  3. Season the duck breast with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices.
  4. Place the duck breast, skin-side down, in a cold skillet on the stovetop. Turn heat to medium-low and cook until most of the fat has rendered out and the skin is crisp and golden brown, about 8-12 minutes. Flipping is not necessary.
  5. Remove from the pan and transfer directly to the grill. Cook meat-side down for 5 minutes.
  6. Flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  7. Remove, let rest for 10 minutes, and serve.

4. Making Duck Cracklings

Cooked duck cracklings

Duck cracklings are a delicious and easy way to use up the excess fat from your duck.

They result in a delicious, crunchy snack that can be enjoyed on their own or used as a topping for salads or soups.

  1. Cut the skin away from the duck meat. It is easiest to do this on the breast, but you can use any available skin.
  2. Cut the skin into 1/4-inch strips and place them on a cooking sheet.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.
  4. Bake for approximately 15 minutes in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven or until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool, and serve.

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Is Duck a Healthy Meat?

Yes, duck is a healthy meat. While duck is relatively fatty compared to other poultry, it is also very high in protein and other nutrients. These include selenium, niacin, and iron [1].

Can You Eat Duck Pink?

Yes, you can eat duck pink [2]. In fact, many people prefer it this way as it can be quite juicy and flavorful. Just ensure the internal temperature of the duck reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it is cooked through.

What Goes Well With Duck?

Many sides go well with duck. Popular choices include mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and rice. Fruity sauces are also often used to top or accompany duck dishes. As duck can be pretty rich, it is often paired with lighter sides, such as salads, to balance out the meal.

Cooking Duck

As you can see, duck is a versatile meat that is simple to cook in many different ways.

No matter how you prepare it, duck is sure to be a delicious and healthy addition to your next culinary adventure.

That said, it is often challenging to find duck at the grocery store. One of my favorite places to obtain this foodstuff is from D'Artagnan.

They source from small farms that do not use hormones or antibiotics in their meat. Click here to see what they have to offer.


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